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World Cup qualifier Group Group 4

The Republic will begin their World cup qualifying campaign without midfield stalwart Jason McAteer, who has announced his retirement from international football.

The 33-year-old has been a regular since the 1994 Finals but injuries have hampered his availability since the 2002 World Cup.

“I have always been immensely proud to represent Ireland and have always given 100%.

“But I feel the time is right to step aside and let the talented youngsters have a go.

“We are lucky to have some cracking players coming through and it would be great to help these boys develop with the national side.” said the former Liverpool player.

Brian Kerr’s side are struggling for midfield personnel ahead of the group four match, with both Roy Keane (rib) and Matt Holland (ankle) out.

Also out are Liam Miller of Manchester United, who has a torn calf muscle, and Leicester striker David Connelly, who has a thigh strain.

Coventry’s Graham Barrett, who scored the winner in a 1-0 win against Jamaica in June, has been drafted in as a replacement for Miller.

Cyprus, who came close to upsetting the then European champions France 2 years ago, will be looking to build on their improving status and may fancy their chances of springing a shock on the Irish.

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